Use your hip joints to avoid back pain

Did you know that the most common type of back pain, suffered by people, is lower back pain? If you have lower back pain, it’s a red flag that something may be going wrong with your bending, lifting and carrying.


avoid back pain red flags

Where are your hip joints?

Where do you bend from in your body? If you are pointing at or thinking of a place around your belt line, like the photo above, then you are bending incorrectly! It’s a big problem. Many people think that they bend from their waist. No. There is no bending joint at the waist. That’s a back pain red flag!! Keep bending there and it will keep hurting you.

 Find your hip joints avoid those back pain red flags.

avoiding lower back pain red flags

Alexander Technique is about organising our movement differently. Sometimes, it’s worth going back to basic body mechanics to set your mind straight. You need to bend from your hip joint NOT from your waist. Unfortunately, many of us have gotten it wrong and then fixed that wrongness as a permanent pattern. We habitually bend at the waist. Are you ready to undo this pattern? You’ll need to find your hip joint and then you’ll need to remind yourself how it is when you bend at the correct place. The guy in the gif above is bending correctly. See how he uses his knees ankles and hip joints together.  It’s a good example BUT wait….don’t try and bend all the way to the ground like him until you are ready.

If you have hip joint pain or knee pain, it may be that your hip joint muscles are too tight. Of course you should check with a medical practitioner if the pain is serious and debilitating. Otherwise an Alexander Technique teacher can work with you to minimise the hip joint rigidity and get things moving again.

Let’s start in sitting.

Find a chair and sit on it. Stick your hand under your bottom and you should feel a big bone on each side. That bone is called the sit bone (ischial tuberosity). Even if you have a big bottom, you can still feel those bones. For some people, the sit bones are a big discovery. They’re called sit bones because they are great to sit on. See the second drawing. The sit bones are represented by the green section.

Alexander technique awarreness

Now you may not be sitting on your sit bones. You could be curling down onto the tail bone.

lower back pain

May I suggest you try, as an experiment, sitting on your sit bones? Keep your feet on the ground.

back pain red flags

    Now rock forward on your sit bones with your whole spine going with that motion. Doing that movement involves your whole body rotating around the hip joint. Can you feel how your pelvis rocks around your thigh bones?  That’s where your hip joints are.

    Does this help with back pain?  Yes, using your hip joints rather than your spine to bend ensures you won’t hurt yourself bending forward.

    back pain red flags

    Congratulations, you’ve found your hip joint. Using your hip joint, rather than your waist, takes a great deal of pressure off from your lower spine. Look at this short gif on bending to lift.

    bend correctly-avoiding back pain red flags

    How to do a “table” bend. Courtesy of Jenn Sherer | Spinefulness

    If you had trouble with that experiment, time to see an Alexander Technique teacher. They can help you recover your hip joints and relieve low back pain.

    There’s a lot more information about using your hip joints to avoid back pain. As a student of Alexander Technique you learn to place your hips and move with your natural design. Well worth investigating.


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